Worker Rights Centers for the Greater Protection of Labor Rights in Colombia

Print Region / Country:

Project Duration: December 2016 - December 2020

Fiscal Year & Funding Amount:
FY2016: USD 1,400,000FY2018: USD 350,000

The Problem

The U.S. – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) obligates the Government of Colombia to effectively enforce its labor laws, reaffirm its obligation as a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO), and adopt and maintain in statutes, regulations, and practices, the rights as stated in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up (1998). In the lead up to ratification of the TPA, on April 7, 2011, the Governments of the United States and Colombia reached agreement on an ambitious and comprehensive Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights (Action Plan). Under the Action Plan the Government of Colombia committed to a series of concrete measures to protect the rights of workers. 

Our Strategy

The targets of this project are workers and workers’ organizations. The Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS) implements this project to assist workers and other stakeholders in:

  1. Understanding the scope and applicability of relevant laws;
  2. Understanding the process to initiate inspections, investigations, and seek legal remedies;
  3. Ensuring that the Ministry of Labor, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and other relevant authorities receive well-supported and well-articulated claims; and
  4. Strengthing the capacity of local organizations to assist workers. The Workers’ Rights Centers provide counseling, legal consultation, and training to workers and workers’ organizations in person and through online support.


After the implementation of the first phase of this project, an independent evaluation found that:

  1. Workers are more knowledgeable about their labor rights;
  2. Workers have a better understanding of how to file well-documented legal claims; and
  3. Workers are more likely to take legal action after the Workers’ Rights Centers helped them.

Grantee: Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS)

Contact Information: (202) 693-4900 / Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA)